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15 December 2021
Wool Street Journal

Wool Street Journal: King Country shearers aiming to set new five-stand world record

A five member team of young King Country shearing guns is shaping up to make their mark later this month with a crack at the five-stand nine-hour world record for strong wool lambs.

Attempting to establish a new mark at Te Pa Station, Ruapehu on Wednesday 22 December, the five shearers, aged between 18 and 35, all work for Te Kuiti based Fagan Shearing.

Fagan Shearing owners Neil and Stacy Fagan are coordinating the record attempt. Neil says the five member team, Delwyn Jones, Llion Jones, Jack Fagan, Reuben Alabaster and Kelly Brill, have been working hard to prepare for the big day.

“They each have personal trainers and are fully focused on this attempt. One of them has shed 15 kilograms with his fitness regime. Shearing at this level is a serious scientific activity. On the day each shearer works with his own five-person support team, every one with a specific role to minimise the time spent shearing each sheep. Plenty of time and effort goes into putting in the best possible performance and setting a record that will be difficult to match.

“Although they all have their own targets, during a nine hour day, you have five shearers for a combined total of 162,000 seconds on the boards. They aim for a range between 40 and 45 seconds per sheep. When you save a second here or there, every second adds up through the day.

“Behind the scenes, ensuring we have a big and motivated team of volunteers, with everyone working together, each making sure the event comes off successfully, is key to success for an attempt like this. Our host, Te Pa Station, along with its owner Atihau Whanganui Incorporation is giving us huge support. These five individuals know that they wouldn’t be able to do it on their own, and the day belongs to the whole community,” Neil said.

Well-known shearing personality, uncle of Neil and father of Jack, and 16 times winner of the Golden Shears Sir David Fagan, who set ten world records in his own shearing career, is also helping out with the record attempt. He says bringing the community together is an important part of the day.

“Due to Covid, during the past two years competitive shearing has been constrained, along with everything else. That includes the recently cancellation of the Golden Shears, so it is really heartening to see a big event like this come together. Rural communities love giving something like this a crack, and people are always willing to show their support. Whenever I was involved in attempting a record like this, I was humbled to see the effort that goes into it from so many other people. 

“This is one of the only gang attempts that has not been done before, so there will be a world record established at the end of the day, in which case the aim is to set a good high mark for others to have a go at in the future,” he said.

PGG Wrightson is a major sponsor of the event, as PGG Wrightson North Island Livestock Manager Matt Langtry explained.

“PGG Wrightson has supported New Zealand rural communities for multiple generations. This sponsorship is one among many of the ways we are proud to help rural people achieve their objectives. Several of our company’s different business units have come together to offer our support for this attempt, and we are looking forward to an exciting, colourful, action-packed day,” he said.

Other sponsors are The Lines Company, Lister Shearing, and Te Pa Station owner Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation.

In a traditional nine hour shearing day the action starts at 5am, comprising five separate runs, broken by breakfast, morning smoko, lunch and afternoon smoko, finishing at 5pm.

In order to enter Te Pa Station all shearers, volunteers and others attending are required to be double vaccinated, and to scan their vaccine passports.

Further information:

Neil Fagan 027 432 1143

Matt Langtry 027 564 8953

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